“Anger is one letter short of danger.” ~Author Unknown
9/11…symbolic date…A video is distributed online, excerpts are put on YouTube and before you know it, angry mobs form burning American flags, destroying buildings, and planting bombs to kill American citizens, an American ambassador in Libya and former Peace Corps volunteer from Northern California (considered “the cream of the crop” by his counterparts) who worked tirelessly to mend the relations between the Arab world and the States is dead…such is the power of the Internet. Can the American Free Speech concept laid out in the Bill of Rights extend beyond the borders of the United States? Unless countries censor foreign information, the internet knows no boundaries. The power of images knows no linguistic borders.
Sounds and images are universal. And so the “Going Viral” trend of publishing videos across the internet is a phenomenon which has become a popular way to communicate ideas, sell products, advertise one’s existence and also spread extreme political agendas. In a split second, you can reach millions of people with all kinds of information and once that information has been interpreted and digested, you no longer control the reactions that it causes. Some subjects especially religion are highly sensitive and whenever you touch on those subjects, most people are less prone to accept criticism and religious groups can be easily manipulated thus the idea of “manufacturing anger” and creating “civilizational clashes”.
The Arab Spring is still smoldering and one “viral” match thrown into the kindle will light the fires of rage again as we are now witnessing. This after Christopher Steves wrote in a recent “catch-up” e-mail: ““The whole atmosphere has changed for the better. People smile more and are much more open with foreigners. Americans, French and British are enjoying unusual popularity. Let’s hope it lasts!” Ah…The smoke has not yet cleared from Ground Zero….